6 June 2008

The ride across Sognefjell

From Trondheim my way takes me to Bergen - a beautiful City on the westcoast from where I plan to take a ferry to Newcastle in England. The first possibility is to take the coastal route. It is definitely the easier option but I need to use a lot of small ferries. The second option is the inland route that leads through Dovrefjell national park and then diverts into the mountainrange of Sognefjell. There will be lots of ups and downs!
I choose the second option. Somehow I feel that I haven't yet seen enough of those Norwegian mountains.

To avoid the big roads with heavy traffic, I try as much as possible to find small sideroads. A tiny gravel road takes me into an almost empty countryside with roaring rivers (it is spring time so all the snow is melting here) and high waterfalls. The roads acent very steeply and the temperature rises to 30 degrees Celsius (about 1000 F :). I sweat and swear as the road would and would not stop ascending.
The dwellings here are all built in an old fashioned style; with grass roofs and beautiful wood carvings. On one of the pictures above you see an old train station that is still in use.

The road and the wind decide to form a coalition against me. The terrain just doesn't stop ascending and I now face a steady headwind. But some years ago in Tibet I already had time to get myself psychologically acquainted to this. Then I had to cycle up to more than 52oom. Knowing that there must be and end to this I keep going. And no matter how low or how high the altitude of the pass - reaching the top is always a nice triumph :)

On the pictures you see the thick ice that is still covering the lakes on Sognefjell (it is the beginning of june!!!) and high walls of snow piling up at the roadside. I take lots of banana breaks on the way up and on the way down meet two Dutch ladies (going on 50) who are pushing their bikes uphill for the last two days! My deepest respect! They are on a 4 month trip through scandinavia, all the way up to Nordkap (officially the most morthern point of mainland Europe) and then down again back to Netherlands. Their route isn't fixed. They just go along... Travel at it's best.

In Urnes, I visit the oldest Stabkirke (special style of church) in Norway, protected by UN world heritage and a proud 45 NOK entrance fee.

There are waterfalls everywhere!!! Thundering into the valleys from enormous heights they often create a small localized rain shower which is very welcome in these temperatures that reach almost 30 degrees Celsius. If one compares those falls to Niagara or Victoria falls they certainly aren't as impressive in terms of power and monstrousity. But their remoteness, the quietness of the surrounding nature and the absense of large crowds of tourists makes them special. So I often just sit and gaze and rest my legs and my mind.

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